First Lady Melania Trump on Monday unveiled her new “Be Best” campaign, which encourages children to be the very best versions of themselves while stressing the importance of positive “social, emotional and physical habits.”
With it came a pamphlet on children’s internet safety that looked oddly similar to one published by the Federal Trade Commission under President Barack Obama, however.
The dupe was first pointed out by Twitter user @RudePundit, showing side-by-side snapshots of an online booklet offering parents tips on how to talk to their kids about internet etiquette. Both booklets feature similar layouts and graphics, as well as verbiage. Other areas were updated with minor changes, including a subject heading that was changed from “Sexting: Don’t Do It” to just “Sexting.”
Fun fact: The White House trumpets “Talking with Kids about Being Online" as "a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission." Except for an intro, it's exactly the same thing Obama's FTC put out. pic.twitter.com/AEf6F0gBbt
— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018
The sections on sexting are identical in both versions (including defining it and suggesting that parents tell their kids not to sext because they could be breaking the law). But I just freaking love that they changed the subhead.
— Sarah Mimms (@mimms) May 7, 2018
Both pamphlets have different introductions.
According to The Hill, the PDF booklet was originally shared on the first lady’s “Be Best” initiative website as a document authored by Melania herself with the help of the Federal Trade Commission, but was later updated to show the booklet was simply “promoted” by the first lady and penned by the FTC.
“… Parents, click here to read ‘Talking with Kids about Being Online,’ a Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump,” the updated version read.
The damage had already been done, however, as critics were quick to point out that the pamphlet was nearly identical to one published by Obama’s FTC in 2014 titled, “Net Cetera — Chatting with Kids About Being Online.”
The incident is reminiscent of a past plagiarism blunder involving the first lady, in which a large portion of her speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention was stolen from a speech delivered by former First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
The White House has not yet commented on the matter.